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|Night Gathers ... 1.5||32||23||41||1.0|
I haven't posted in a while, because I was practicing for Stahleck. Now I can give you something that will worth your time. =)
This is the deck that I drove yesterday in Joust and made the cut as 31st out of the ~300 people.My result was 5-2 in Swiss and with that I became 1 of the 3 NW to qualify for the finals. I was the only KoW though, the other two were Fealty with very different decks. In the elimination round I met Florian, who later went to win it all, in a very interesting game (more about it in the tourney report below ). A lot of people were very curious about my deck list, so here it is...
Before anything else though, I'd have to give A HUGE shout out to Daye (action_johnny), without whom I wouldn't be playing this deck. 2-3 weeks before the tournament I was split between playing NW/KoW or some variation of TGB... However, my NW/KoW was very different from what this deck is. It was a very strong 2-claimer, heavy mil, choke deck, but I also wanted to play NG and then Daye said ... " Do you wanna know a secret? Night Gathers... is much more stronger than people realize ... " and this is where it all started.
Let me put it straight out for you. This is not a deck, that simply plays Night Gathers as a suppliment and you managed to trigger it once every 7 games to win a game you are already winning. No, this is a Night Gathers deck, that reliably puts characters from the opponent discard into play and they win you the game.
Honestly, I can write an entire thesis about this deck, but I know many of you won't have the time to read it out, so I will list with bullets some of the interactions and choices here.
- The Agenda. This is an interesting one. I decided on KoW, because it can reliably make the opponent discard characters. Either by choking them with reserve ( -1 on Agenda and additional -2 on Wraiths ), or by stealing gold from them and not allowing them to Marshal characters (later on discarding them, or perfect target for Heads on Spikes). Additionally, it didn't limit me in the Neutral's that I play, which you can see are a lot.
Daye has 2 other lists with different agendas though. Perhaps he will share at some point. So there is space for experimentation here. My choice is definitely Kings of Winter, due to how consistent it can get chars in the opponent discard pile.
- The strategy. This is a tempo deck, which you have to plan long-term. The entire playstyle is about setuping your opponent for 2-3, or even 5 turns and then winning it in 2. I'm talking about different levels of setup. You have to setup his discard pile, you have to setup safe conditions to trigger Varys, you have to setup your own power so you are not too far behind. Now the Agenda choice works very interesting with your opponents, who think that you are playing a standard NW-choke and try to setup as many bodies on the table as possible, in order to avoid the hard hitting 2-claimers (as well as avoid discarding for reserve). Varys sends his regards ... =)
All in all, this deck would make Doran Martell proud.
- The plots. This is by far the optimal plot list in my opinion. The setup you can do with Wraith opening into Heads on spike is crazy. in 90% of the games, my opponents are down to 3 ( or 2 ) cards after turn 1 and most of them are holding onto their 6 and 7 costers... Yummy ... Vary's Riddle is a great plot because of it's flexibility. It flatout won me one game in 3v1 body count for enemy, where he marched. The rest of the days hitting Summmons or Building orders, or CC to give me characters. Also you can alternatively open with it if u are sure what your opponent would open ( like in my 2nd game ). Winter Festival is there give you mid-game power ( as I said, u need to hang in there ), choke a bit and allow u to rebuild with 5 gold. Famine is for once you have cleared the board, or you have a clear military advantage and can just demolish him with 2 claim. Marched for after Varys if he has 1 char with dupe.
Fallen from Favor is probably the most interesting one and let me tell you. It is designed for this deck. =) First it has 7 reserve, which is great for Night Gathers... trigger. Second you can discard your Yoren, to use a 2nd copy from your hand. Third, opponent can Riddle himself -1 body. Fourth, it's the absolute best after a Varys wipe. You lose nothing on board, gain 7 + tons of gold, while enabling you to trigger NG. GG.
Thanks again to @action_johnny for stressing out to me, how good this plot is for this deck.
Ocean Road is amazing. You can reduce Varys and the other ton of neutral cards that the deck is playing plus the entire enemy discard pile xD No need to say how sweet is that Tywin for -2 gold.
Mance Rayder is value, but because Wildling Horde are the only viable wildlings atm for this deck, you can't play him more than once. I'm sure you understand all the synergy with Winter plots and ambushing ... also Wildling Horde are freaking beasts that u can reduce with your Ocean Roads and that have Pillage ... which what it does ... it builds opponent discard pile ;)
- Samwell Tarly and The Iron Throne are pretty key, as they give you the extra reserve for you to safely be able to trigger NG at any time.
It was against a gentleman from France, who was playing Martell Crossing. He setup Harmen Uller and a chud. I open Wraiths he Opens Noble cause. He won't/cant marshall because of some choke I did to him. Saves all gold for challenges. Ambushes Nymeria and some bastards. One or two plots later, he floods the board with everything he has. I play Varys, resset the board. Re-marshall because I'm keeping a bunch of dudes in my hand. I draw Night Gathers the turn after and steal his The Red Viper with a bunch of chuds and win, because he has no characters on board or in hand and had already used his CC. It was a very beautiful finish though with stealing the Vyper and getting 3 power for his 10STR on an UO int challenge. (1-0)
V.s. a NW Wall deck piloted by a gentleman from Spain ( Josh? ). The standard double CC build. Both of us have similar setup. I open with Riddle this time, because I know that he will Here to Serve and didn't want him to have Aemon and me not. He floods the board with chuds and everything he has by turn 2 ( i think ~ 10 chars or more ) with a duped Aemon. I Varys, March his Aemon dupe and Night Gathers... about 5-6 NW bodies from his discard under my command (including Aemon). From there on it was just about closing it out. (2-0)
Andrash from Hungary playing Lanni/KoW. Very close game. Could have gone either way. I had strong Mil icons so I kept my setup ( bunch of Ranging Parties and Wildling Horde). I setup 2x Ranging Party and a Roseroad. Turn one he opens with The Long Winter v.s. my Wraiths in Their Midst, with Tyrion, 2mil chud and The Hound. I marshal out a Wildling Horde thinking that he can't pass through my MIL icons. As he selected for himself to go first, he does an Intrigue followed up by Trial by Combat. I'm left with only Wildling horde left. He doesn't do Mil to clean up and next turn Marches, where I flip riddle and his board- from Hound, 2 mil chud and Tyrion is left only with Tyrion. I immediately Yoren his Hound and from there on start punching him a bit by bit. I had drawn 3x Varys and was keeping them in hand, because I had board advantage and was slowly winning. He plays a 2nd Trial by combat and a few other characters with 2 claim intrigue,managed to discard my 3x Varys and 1x Night Gathers by plot 6, but at the same time he is left only with Tyrion on the board v.s. my 4 guys. I march, board is reset and he concedes. (3-0)
Played Mathew S. from the UK. He was running Targ/Summer. Something which in my OCTGN testing was the only deck that defeated me. It was a crazy game. Especially when I found out that he runs Varys as well. I've been setuping on turn 1 and waiting for him to flood the board, so I play my Varys. Meanwhile got burned 2 times with Dracarys! on the first 2 plots. On turn 2 he had clear board advantage and to my biggest shock he plays a Varys ... with a Dupe ( which somehow I managed to miss in a 2/3 heads on spikes situation ) ... I have Varys in my hand and 3 guys on board v.s. his 6-7 ... what do I do? I play Varys , man up and trigger :D He had a dupe on Aggo and his Varys, so he is left with them after my trigger. He starts flooding again, but I draw a second Varys ... I setup some chuds and play Varys ... this time I discard his Aggo and Varys as well with the rest of his board ... This time finally I have a clear advantage ... until he draws his 3rd Varys with Sir Jorah he cloaks up 14 power, before I make POW challenge and drop him to 13. This time HE wipes the board =) He was at 13 power, I was at 12 with Yoren in hand and a few other chars .. he has no cards in hand, I think I played FFF, i Go first and Yoren his discarded Ser Jorah Mormont. I win as he top decked The Roseroad and Ser Jorah Mormont ... GG (4-0)
Lukasz from Poland. He was running an interesting Targ/Crossing that was rushing power with Viserys Targaryen (AtSK). My ass just got burned 2 times in the first 2 turns last game, so I was very careful playing around Dracarys!. I think he didn't understood how my deck works, but really quickly adapted to it (sign of a good player). He opened Noble vs my Wraiths. This is a very good opener for me. Played the new Viserys with a dupe and a few other guys and started doing challenges for crossing etc. etc. I didn't have Varys in hand or on Setup and he was starting to flood the board. Perhaps ~7-8 chars by end of turn 1. As he was out of cards, I went for Riddle trying to hit his CC, but instead I hit Summons. He finds a Daenerys Targaryen to which I find a Varys ( the 10th card, so I wouldn't have drawn it otherwise ). Of course he sees it because of the plot and what he does was very smart. After draw with 2 cards, instead of playing all of his gold for Danny , he plays MIL Drogon with a Dupe ( which he just drew imo ). Now he has Drogon Dupe and Viserys Dupe ... usually when you Varys, you don't want more than 1 dupe targets.
Non the less, the board advantage is very large for him and I Varys. Plot 3, I Heads on Spikes, because I know Danny is in his hand and he had 3 or 4 cards ... I hit a chud ... :( I play Night Gathers and I steal Jhogo and Ser Jorah together with some chud, but it's not enough as he Marshalls Khal Drogo with a dupe next turn, Viserys has already generated 4 power ( for 4 turns), he has about 9 power on card and that was a wrap... (4-1)
Lukasz continued to make the cut as well.
V.s. Kamil from Poland. He was playing a Lanni/ Castamere deck. That game was doomed pretty much from the start. He drew the best possible cards v.s. me. After a muligan he setups Ser Ilyn Payne with a chud and starts executing my chuds. I managed to get him down to 3 cards with Wraiths and Head on Spikes turn 2. From 3 cards ( 1 chud and 2 Tywin ), I hit the chud. So turn 2 he Marshals Tywin with a dupe. Starts triggering the Agenda constantly. On turn 3 or 4, he plays CC and Marshalls the mountain on CC turn ... because ... Lannister ... He managed to discard my Varys on a 1/5 chance and there was no returning from that point. Without taking any credit from my opponent for playing properly, this was certainly the worst luck I had during the tournament. (4-2)
Kamil entered the cut as well I believe.
Played Steven from Germany. He is the director of Toknemannia and a really cool guy. They make amazing tokens and even gave me some swag just for playing him, so shoutout to him for that! He recorded the game and it will be uploaded on youtube at some point, but at the start I told him " I'm playing an interesting deck ... you will see " ... or something similar :D and you can bet that this was the most epic game during the day ( yes, even more infarct then game #4 against Mathew with the triple Varys :D ).
Steven was running Lanni/Kraken and I won't spoil anything, but this was the game where Mance Rayder showed to work and despite having some awful luck ( missing killing a key character with heads on spikes in 1/2 chance ) AND getting my Varys discarded in 1/5 chance ... there was some last turn comeback! =)
Cheers to Steven for the sportsmanship at the end! (5-2)
Went against Florian and his Stark Fealty, as 31st against 2nd seed. This game made me learn a life/AGoT lesson the hard way. I played the most perfectly calculated first 2 turns during the entire day, just to have a simple mistake in the very last second of the game cost me the victory.
I drew on Setup and Refill, Varys, Night Gathers , HoJ, Aemon, White tree, bunch of chuds ... I setup Ghost, Raven and White Tree, planning to choke him and play Aemon first turn. He setups Gates of Winterfel, Jon Snow and a chud.
Turn 1, Wraiths vs Calm Over Westeros. -1 gold only from my tree but he would still have 3 reserve at the end... He managed to bring out Arya with 2 dupes and Caitlyn stark and a reducer. On my side I played Aemon and Reducer as I he selected me to be first and had only 4 gold. I calculate the challenge math and realize that if I don't do any challenges we would be at 1-1 power, which was the best scenario and so it happens. At end of challenges he Gates of Winterfell an Ice and sicards down to 3 cards keeping the ice. He discards Summer, Blackfish and a Milk
Turn 2, I flip Heads on Spikes to discard his Ice while he opens with the Wardens of the North. He shuffles intensively saying something like " Well, let's see now if this will be the discard that will decide the game ". I try telling him that I've been unlucky white my Spikes all day and to continue the tradition, I hit a Winter Is Coming, rather than Ice. He is first though, so he Marshals Bran and attaches Ice on Caitlyn. I collect my 5 gold and do the following. As it's 6v5 reserve, I play Night Gathers... and I'm with 4 gold left. As he thinks that I can marshal only Summer, he doesn't use Bran. I drop a The Kingsroad and immediately go up to 6. I marshal The Blackfish on turn 2, without resets and the jaws on everyone around the table drop. He continues with his plan though and thanks to the plot target-kills my Maester Aemon. We exchange some challenges and stay in close power range.
Turn 3 , He already has a solid board advantage. I'm left with Blackfish and 2 other chars. Time to play Varys. I play Varys Riddle and hit his Building Orders. I ask him to go first. He tells me to resolve my plot first. I find a Roseroad. He is searching for a 2nd Ice, but picks up only a Roseroad himself. He marshals a few more bodies and for my 6 gold i play Varys. During challenges I let him 3 UO, as I calculated that it would be the same power difference, as I'd go UO against him as well. on my UO intrigue I manage to discard Fast Eddie ( one of his two cards in hand ).
At the end of phase I trigger Varys, as it's 6+ chars vs 3 for him. Only Arya is left with a dupe on the board.
Turn 4, My hand is - Ranging Party, Yoren, HoJ, Milk ... he had 1 card in hand and Gated of Winterfel to show a milk (something which I forgot). My plot choice was either Marched to the Wall or Fallen from Favor. My logic was the following. Disregarding top decking, Marched would allow me to play ONLY yoren or ONLY ranging party. Fallen from Favor would allow me to get 8 gold and Marshall both Yoren and Party AND play Milk on Arya.
I opted for the safer play. I play FFF and ask him to go first. He doesn't marshal anything and keeps his 4g. Now we are in time and no other plots will be played 7 to 4 power for him. I drew 2 Wildling Hordes. I play a Wildling horde and I milk his Arya 6 gold ... then I Yoren and while looking at his discard pile which had Bran, Tumblestone Knight and Summer, I pick take Summer and ask the judge " If I steal summer, can I trigger for cards from my discard pile" to which the judge nods and says "yes". As I have a Sworn Brother in my discard, I steal Summer and put my 2 coster into play, just so the judge tells me " you can only bring back Stark characters " ... As I made it to the finals of the biggest tournament in EU, I man up and take it like a man, no take backs... GG
If I had taken any character with a PoW icon from his discard. I'd win. If I had read the card, I'd win.
Lesson learned for life. =)
Perhaps its worth mentioning that this was my first Stahleck, as well as my first international tournament. It was amazing experience and next time I'll come back better and stronger!